Chronic Cervicitis

Vital Information: Causes and Symptoms of Chronic Cervicitis

Chronic cervicitis is a gynecological problem that affects women. It is characterized by the inflammation of the cervix. This HerHaleness write-up provides information on this medical condition.
The term 'cervix' refers to the opening to the uterus, and inflammation of the cervix is medically referred to as cervicitis. This condition affects more than 50% of women at some point during their life, and is only detected during a routine gynecological examination. This condition could be acute or chronic. While the former refers to the infection characterized by rapid onset of severe symptoms that last for a shorter duration, the latter is characterized by an infection that develops over time, and lasts for a longer duration.
Risk Factors and Causes
Women who are more likely to get affected by acute or chronic cervicitis include the ones who indulge in high-risk sexual behavior. Thus, women in high-risk group include those who have a history of sexually transmitted infections, or those who have multiple sexual partners. The risk increases when their sexual partners have engaged in high-risk sexual behavior, or are affected by sexually transmitted infections. Women who became sexually active at an early age might also be at a risk.
Certain STIs that can cause cervicitis include:
  • Chlamydia
  • Gonorrhea
  • Herpes virus (genital herpes)
  • Human papilloma virus (genital warts)
  • Trichomoniasis
Overgrowth of bacteria in the vagina (bacterial vaginosis) could also be a contributing factor.
Cervicitis could also occur due to:
  • Insertion of a device such as a cervical cap, diaphragm, or pessary into the pelvic area
  • Allergy to spermicides used for birth contro
  • Allergy to latex in condom
  • Exposure to a chemical
Frequent bacterial infections can lead to acute cervicitis. If left untreated, acute cervicitis could develop into chronic cervicitis.
Symptoms
Acute cervicitis is easy to spot due to its characteristic symptoms. These include:
  • Yellow or gray vaginal discharge
  • Pain during urination
  • Pain during intercourse
  • Vaginal bleeding and spotting
In case of mild chronic cervicitis, symptoms might not be noticeable. Recurrent acute cervicitis may be a sign of chronic cervicitis. It could cause light, almost unnoticeable vaginal discharge, discomfort and pain during urination, pain during intercourse, etc. When left untreated, it could cause symptoms such as vaginal discharge, bleeding between periods, and bleeding or spotting after sex.
Chronic Cervicitis with Squamous Metaplasia
Chronic cervicitis with squamous metaplasia is a benign condition that is characterized by the inflammation of the cervix. It is the non-cancerous change in the squamous cells on the surface of the cervix. This condition can be detected with the help of a Pap smear.
Treatment
This condition can be diagnosed with the help of a pap smear. In some cases, a biopsy of the cervix may be carried out. Mild cervicitis may be treated with the help of antibiotics and other medications. Cauterization, which is a procedure where a heated probe is used to burn the inflamed and infected cells, might be recommended. At times, cryosurgery (the use of extremely cold nitrous oxide or carbon dioxide gas for destroying the affected cells or tissue) might be recommended. This method is easier and less painful than cauterization. Laser surgery might be recommended, if a large section of cervix is inflamed. However, this might take about 2 months, and is also more expensive than the other two methods.
On a concluding note, women who have been affected by bacterial vaginosis or any sexually transmitted disease should go for checkups at least every six months. Medical assistance must be sought by women who experience the symptoms of cervicitis, so that this condition is treated at the earliest.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.